A British one-two brought the curtain down on the fourth day of competition in Dublin in a night that saw a total of eight medals for British Para-Swimmers featuring two gold medals.
Alice Tai claimed the final European title of the night as she touched first for gold in the Women’s S8 100m Backstroke final in a time of 1:08.86, just 0.6 seconds off her own World record.
“I’m a bit torn after that result,” said Tai. “Obviously I’m really happy about the medal but I went out too fast, I keep doing that on backstroke, I’m going to have to work on that for next year. If I want to get close to my PB then I need to improve my pacing.
“I’ve said before, I just love racing so to not have anyone next to me on the final fifty is a bit odd, so I just need to get in the right headspace to be able to race myself.”
She was followed into the wall by Megan Richter who claimed silver in a time of 1:17.90 which is a new season’s best for her, and third medal of the meet.
Richter said, “I wasn’t expecting the medal yesterday in the 100m breast, but I was delighted with it and with the 100m back which is my main event, so I’m very pleased that I did well in it.”
She went on to say, “Swimming alongside Alice [Tai] was fun and definitely useful to have someone to learn from and also great to be next to her on the podium.”
The brits were joined on the podium by Kateryna Denysenko of Ukraine.
Hannah Russell charged away from the rest of Women’s S12 100m Backstroke field and claimed her second gold of the 2018 European Championships.
She posted a season’s best time in the straight final event of 1:08.16 to top the podium in Dublin.
After her swim Russell said, “I’ve tried to work on the small things I’ve been doing in training and it’s obviously paid off.
“I’m not quite at my best, my PB is 1:06.06 and this season has had its ups and downs but I’ve come into this European Championships wanting to do my absolute best.
“We missed the World Championships last year which meant we didn’t have that stepping stone but we have had lots of domestic meets throughout the year.
“I try not to think about the others around me. It’s me against the clock, I want to get a PB and my hands on the World record again.”
Hannah was joined on the Dublin 2018 podium by Maria Nadal Delgado of Spain with silver and Alessia Berra of Italy claimed bronze.
Zara Mullooly secured an impressive silver medal in the Women’s S10m 50m Freestyle, a first international medal.
She lowered her personal best by 0.7 seconds of the single lap race to 28.30 to place herself on the National Aquatics Centre podium.
“I went into the race ranked sixth so I really wasn’t expecting to get a medal or the time that I got so I’m really really happy with that, and still quite shocked,” said Mullooly.
Gold went to Chantelle Zijderveld of the Netherlands and bronze to Alessia Scortechini of Italy.
Toni Shaw secured her third medal of the meet so far as she took bronze in the Women’s S9 100m Backstroke in a new lifetime best swim of 1:08.16.
“It feels really good as I wasn’t expecting to get a medal in that one. The plan tonight was to just go as fast as I could and see what happens,” said Shaw.
“I’ve still the three more races here in Dublin including the 200m IM and relay, so still lots to come and looking forward to it all.”
The other medals were claimed by Lina Watz of Sweden (silver) and Nuria Soto Marques of Spain (gold).
Stephen Clegg made a return to the continental podium, the S12 swimmer went in the Men’s 100m Backstroke and finished third.
“I was a bit sore after this morning’s swim, but I took it out faster which was my aim. Just wasn’t able to hold on in the last 15 metres as well as I thought I could.”
Sunderland-based Clegg was joined at the medal ceremony by two Ukrainian athletes, Sergii Slippert took silver but gold and the European title went to Iaroslav Denysenko.
Grace Harvey picked up a bronze medal in the Women’s S6 100m Backstroke as she continues her senior international debut for Great Britain in the Irish capital.
Harvey’s final time was 1:30.17 and explained in the mixed zone, “It’s absolutely amazing! I feel so much relief as well now, considering how my individual medley earlier in the week didn’t go how I wanted it to.
“Warm-up was great this evening and I’m just so happy that everything has paid off now.
“It’s been 10 years of hard work. I feel so honoured to have been given the chance to show that I can step up against an international field, and now I’m ready for the next one.”
The gold medal went to Verena Schott of Germany in a European record time of 1:26.06 and silver went to Ukrainian Yelyzaveta Mereshko.
The Men’s S9 100m Backstroke featured a trio of British athletes, Ollie Hynd, Lewis White and Jacob Leach.
Hynd was the best-placed athlete at the close of the two laps, he was ranked fifth with a time of 1:05.76 and improving on his time from the heats by almost one and a half seconds.
White placed sixth with a new personal best time of 1:06.43 and international debutant Jacob Leach finished seventh, his time at the touch 1:07.60.
Click here for full results from day four finals of the World Para-Swimming Allianz European Championships 2018 in Dublin.
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